The New Urban Form

Introducing Form Based Zoning to Dallas

The City Council approved the first in a series of zoning changes that will be part of the Trinity River Corridor Special Purpose District on September 24, 2008. This rezoning is comprised of an effort to implement the Trinity River Corridor Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The Plan establishes a broad vision that describes the Corridor as the heart of a thriving Dallas with unified yet diverse neighborhoods and business centers connected by a waterway and green spaces. Form-based codes address the relationship between building facades and the public realm, the form and mass of buildings in relation to one another, and the scale and types of streets and blocks. The regulations and standards in Form-based codes, are keyed to a regulating plan that designates the appropriate form and scale (and therefore, character) of development rather than only distinctions in land-use types. It promotes pedestrian-friendly and environmental savvy development. This new zoning in Dallas, establishes the Corridor as the city's model for economic growth without physical, social, or economic barriers, which attracts residents and visitors to live, learn, work, shop, and play within a cosmopolitan urban core alongside the river's meandering environment. For the Trinity River Corridor Project, this zoning case was centered on property around the Downtown Overlook, which will become the ceremonial entrance into the park from Beckley Avenue and Commerce Street. The new regulations will also serve to carry out the plan objectives of bringing downtown development to the river; in essence, expanding a vibrant urban core. The approved zoning focuses on the form-based approach to guide redevelopment of the area ensuring the pedestrian-friendly environment that will compliment the planned amenities with the Trinity Lakes Park.​